The world of underwater hotels seems to be saturated with promises as much as it does promise. One firm hoping to make waves is Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel. It is waiting for a developer to splash out on one of its "world first fully self-contained affordable mini-luxury underwater hotels."

We've seen a number of underwater hotel concepts and projects in the past, such as those from Poseidon Resorts and the Water Discus Hotel. Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel claims, however, that its prefab, modular design can be delivered faster, cheaper and more scalably than anything else.

Based on the Florida island of Key West, the company says that many of its competitors are offering designs that will cost in the region of US$11 million per guest room to construct and estimates resulting nightly rates of $4,000-$6,000. In contrast, it says its approach will only cost around $1.7 million per room, with a standard 12-room deployment therefore costing about $20 million. For guests, this would mean nightly room-rates in the more affordable region of $3,000-$6,000.

The proposed structure of the hotel comprises thick double-welded steel and sheets of thick, clear acrylic. A modular design means that its pods could be prefabricated in a factory and transported to site complete. An on-site assembly process will then be carried out with the use of a support vessel, and is likened to constructing a space station.

Managing Director of Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel Tony Webb tells Gizmag that fabrication time for the steel will be about 16 weeks, while fitting the support equipment, furnishings and other components will take a further six months. The hotel will have a cylindrical shape to help spread the pressure of the surrounding water evenly around its structure.

The hotels will be deployed at a depth of around 28 ft (8.5 m), with a pressure of around 1 atm (101,325 Pa). Using electromechanical propulsion technology, they will be able to move themselves so as to be able to relocate to safer waters in the event of a hurricane.

Guests will access the hotels via an elevator. Among the sections will be a 14 x 80-ft (4.3 x 24.4-m) central corridor and a 16 x 60-ft (4.9 x 18.3-m) air-conditioned lounge. There will also be twelve 18 x 12-ft (5.5 x 3.7-m) bedrooms, which will each have a king-size bed, a bathroom and toilet, a refrigerator, internet access and audio-visual entertainment systems. In addition, they will boast panoramic views through their clear acrylic wall and ceiling viewing panels.

In addition to offering a unique place to stay, the hotels will be available for hosting events such as weddings, meetings, lunches and dinners. It is hoped that a philanthropic side to the project will help to fund and implement a worldwide proven Biorock coral reef restoration and aquaculture solutions and technologies.

Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel has been in development for two-and-a-half years and is now ready to enter a testing phase. In addition, Webb tells Gizmag that it has received two sales enquiries over the last 48 hours from a group based in the Philippines and Singapore, and another based in Qatar. Over 200 enquiries about future reservations have also been made, he says.

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